The long-running battle between the RIAA and the Santangelo family took another twist this week.
Teenager Robert Santangelo, recently a target of the RIAA, has now rifled back against the trade organization with a countersuit. The RIAA originally sued mother Patricia Santangelo in 2005, but was later forced to drop the case and redirect its efforts against children Michelle and Robert. Michelle settled quickly, though Robert has now rallied back. Assisted by attorney Jordan Glass, the teenager has accused the RIAA of collusion, extortion, and conspiracy to defraud the courts. The countersuit also alleges that the trade organization has damaged the reputation of the defendant, and distracted the youngster from his schoolwork.
Of course, the central question will be whether Robert shared copyrighted works without permission. But Robert alleges that the RIAA has falsely accused him of file-swapping a number of tracks. Instead, the 16-year old claims that the tracks in question were simply ripped from his sister’s CD collection. That leaves a considerable amount of action ahead, though the RIAA appeared resolute. “The record industry has suffered enormously due to piracy. That includes thousands of layoffs,” the RIAA said in a statement. “We must protect our rights. Nothing in a filing full of recycled charges that have gone nowhere in the past changes that fact.”